I really do love the book of Ecclesiastes. The easy-to-understand wisdom and logic of the book blows me away. And, just last week I read the first chapter. In it is a reoccurring theme throughout the book, “there is nothing new under the sun”. I had always wondered about this statement. Did it really mean that everything we know has already been figured out? What would the implications of that statement be if it truly meant that.
Fortunately, the question has recently been answered for me. About a month ago I learned some amazing information about a group of things called, “chemical elements”. Although I had read about these in school, books and the such, my interest was newly renewed and I was able to connect the line between Ecclesiastes and common sense.
See, these chemical elements, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, are a group consisting of 118 elements that make up the entire universe. Every single object in the entire universe is made up of these elements. Although some elements have been made in the last few years and have no real, lasting impact, these elements fit exactly what Solomon talked about in Ecclesiastes.
Because all the universe is made up of these elements and only these elements, then one could say, from the moment these elements were made, nothing new was made. There were no new elements being made and since everything was being made up of these elements then nothing new could be made. Thus, there is nothing new under the sun.
If one knows the “element-history” they could argue that the above doesn’t make sense because man has only recently made some of these elements. So, one could say, something is new. However, this argument can easily be defeated.
If these elements were just being made by man in the last few decades, and if they are real and can be considered elements, then we can know one of two things:
Those elements have existed before (most likely right “in the beginning”)
The “element” is made up of the same material as the other elements so it can’t be considered “new”
Personally, I don’t know which one to rule out and which one to keep. Number 2 makes perfect sense because these other elements were made of the exact same materials as the other elements, just more of them. Nonetheless, they were the same materials.
The first idea though, is a little easier to defeat. According to the scientists who made these elements, they fall apart almost immediately because they are so unstable. So, if God really did create them right in the beginning, then they would have been gone right “in the beginning”. It seems rather frivolous for God to make them and then just have them destroyed in a matter of moments. However, I’m not God and I don’t know His purposes so . . .
Whether or not you accept theory one or two, you must admit, Solomon was entirely right when he said there “was nothing new under the sun.”